Unlike men, a good night’s sleep for women is affected by having children in the house, with each child increasing the odds of insufficient sleep by nearly 50 per cent, says a study that backs up what many women might already know and experience every day.
“I think these findings may bolster those women who say they feel exhausted,” said study author Kelly Sullivan of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, US.
“Our study found not only are they not sleeping long enough, they also report feeling tired throughout the day,” Sullivan said.
For the study, the researchers examined data from a nationwide telephone survey of 5,805 people.
Participants were asked how long they slept, with seven to nine hours per day considered optimum and less than six hours considered insufficient.
They were also asked how many days they felt tired in the past month.
Researchers looked at age, race, education, marital status, number of children in the household, income, body mass index, exercise, employment and snoring as possible factors linked to sleep deprivation.
For a large section of the participants — 2,908 women – aged 45 years and younger in the study, researchers found the only factor associated with getting enough sleep was having children in the house, with each child increasing the odds of insufficient sleep by nearly 50 per cent.
For women under 45, nearly 50 per cent of women with children reported getting at least seven hours of sleep, compared to over 60 per cent of women without children.
No other factors — including exercise, marital status and education – were linked to how long younger women slept.
The study — to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston from April 22-28, 2017 — found that not only was living with children associated with how long younger women slept, but also how often they felt tired.
Younger women with children reported feeling tired 14 days per month, on average, compared to 11 days for younger women without children in the household.
Having children in the house was not linked to how long men slept, the study said.